Linux development

Developing Defold applications for the Linux platform is a straight forward process with very few considerations to make.

Project settings

Linux specific application configuration is done from the Linux section of the game.project settings file.


Q: Why is the Defold editor super small when run on a 4k or HiDPI monitor when using GNOME?

A: Change the scaling factor before running Defold. source

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface scaling-factor 2
$ ./Defold

A: An alternative solution, especially when you wish to scale up by a fraction, is to modify the Defold/config file and on the vmargs line add glass.gtk.uiScale: source

vmargs = -Dglass.gtk.uiScale=1.5,-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8,...
vmargs = -Dglass.gtk.uiScale=175%,-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8,...
vmargs = -Dglass.gtk.uiScale=192dpi,-Dfile.encoding=UTF-8,...

More on this value in the Arch Linux HiDPI wiki article.

Q: Why does mouse clicks on Elementary OS go through the editor onto whatever is below?

A: Start the editor like this:

$ GTK_CSD=0 ./Defold

Q: The Defold editor crashes when opening a collection or game object and the crash refers to “com.jogamp.opengl”

A: On certain distributions (like Ubuntu 18) there is an issue with the version of jogamp/jogl Defold uses vs. the version of Mesa on the system. You can override which GL version that gets reported when calling glGetString(GL_VERSION) by setting the MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE to 2.1 or a larger value but less than or equal to the version of your driver. You can check which is the maximum OpenGL version your driver supports using glxinfo:

glxinfo | grep version

Example output (look for “OpenGL version string: x.y”):

server glx version string: 1.4
client glx version string: 1.4
GLX version: 1.4
Max core profile version: 4.6
Max compat profile version: 4.6
Max GLES1 profile version: 1.1
Max GLES[23] profile version: 3.2
OpenGL core profile version string: 4.6 (Core Profile) Mesa 20.2.6
OpenGL core profile shading language version string: 4.60
OpenGL version string: 4.6 (Compatibility Profile) Mesa 20.2.6
OpenGL shading language version string: 4.60
OpenGL ES profile version string: OpenGL ES 3.2 Mesa 20.2.6
OpenGL ES profile shading language version string: OpenGL ES GLSL ES 3.20
GL_EXT_shader_implicit_conversions, GL_EXT_shader_integer_mix,

Use version 2.1 or version matching your graphics driver:


Q: Why am I getting “com.jogamp.opengl.GLException: Graphics configuration failed” when launching Defold?

A: On certain distributions (for instance Ubuntu 20.04) there is an issue with the new Mesa drivers (Iris) when running Defold. You can try using an older driver version when running Defold:


Q: The Defold editor crashes when opening a collection or game object and the crash refers to

A: The libffi version of your distribution and the one required by Defold (version 6 or 7) does not match. Make sure or is installed under /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu. You can download like this:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i libffi7_3.3-6_amd64.deb

Next you specify the path to this version in the LD_PRELOAD environment variable when running Defold:

$ LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ ./Defold

Q: My OpenGL drivers are outdated. Can I still use Defold?

A: Yes, it might be possible to use Defold if you enable software rendering. You can enable software rendering by setting the LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE environment variable to 1:


Q: Why doesn’t my Defold game start when I try to run it on Linux?

A: Check the console output in the editor. If you get the following message:

dmengine: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Then you need to install libopenal1. The package name varies between distributions, and in some cases you might have to install the openal and openal-dev or openal-devel packages.

$ apt-get install libopenal-dev